• Papa John's sells 84 company-owned pizza units in Colo. and Minn.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Papa John's has agreed to sell 84 company-owned units in Colorado and Minnesota to a new franchise group, PJCOMN Acquisition Corp.

According to a news release, the group is an affiliate of Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm Milestone Capital Management. The transaction, which is expected to close in the coming months, covers 49 restaurants in the Denver/Colorado Springs market and 35 restaurants in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market.

The transaction is not expected to have a significant impact on Papa John's 2005 operating results. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"While we are committed to growing our base of company-owned restaurants where it makes strategic sense, this sale allows us to tighten our geographic focus of corporate operations while adding an excellent new franchisee to our system," said Papa John's chief operations officer, Bill Van Epps. "We believe this franchise group has the resources, experience and capabilities to be successful in these markets and in the Papa John's system."

"We are excited to join the Papa John's family," said Larry Zwain, chief executive of PJCOMN Acquisition Corp. "The quality of the product, as evidenced by the numerous awards and consumer surveys won by the brand, is what attracted us to Papa John's."

Zwain is the former president and CEO of Boston Chicken (now Boston Market), and most recently was the operations partner for Pizza PALS, which operates CiCi's Pizza units in Colorado.

The sale will trim Papa John's corporate unit count to about 490, while boosting its franchised unit total to approximately 2,400.

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